Earth receives first message from almost 10 million miles away in space

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By Kim Novak

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Earth has received its first message from almost 10 million miles away in space following a test by NASA.

As technology increases and scientific discoveries evolve, the quest to know more about our universe and beyond continues.

While we have learned a lot about our solar system in recent decades, there's vastly more that we are yet to discover about the vastness of space.

NASA has now successfully received its first laser-beamed message from 10 million miles away back to Earth, which could potentially be a game-changer for spacecraft communication.

wp-image-1263237805 size-full
The latest breakthrough could be a game-changer for space communication. Credit: xia yuan/getty images

According to reports from IFLScience, NASA used lasers to beam data from beyond the moon and back in a rest which took place on November 14.

The test involved the Psyche spacecraft, which was originally sent into space to investigate an asteroid according to NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL).

The spacecraft uses the first demonstration of NASA's optical communications beyond the Earth-Moon system called DSOC, and can beam data using a flight laser transceiver, a ground laser transmitter, and a ground laser receiver.

It achieved its "first light" after Psyche's laser transceiver locked onto a powerful uplink laser beacon transmitted from JPL's Optical Communications Telescope Library, with the uplink beacon helping the transceiver aim its downlink laser to the Hale Telescope at Caltech's Palomar Observatory in San Diego.

The distance achieved is almost 10 million miles away, so 40 times further than the distance of the Moon from Earth.

This latest achievement could be game-changing for communications within space and is a major breakthrough for NASA.

Trudy Kortes, director of Technology Demonstrations at NASA Headquarters in Washington, said in a statement: "Achieving first light is one of many critical DSOC milestones in the coming months, paving the way toward higher-data-rate communications capable of sending scientific information, high-definition imagery, and streaming video in support of humanity’s next giant leap: sending humans to Mars."

wp-image-1263237811 size-full
Historically, attaining such accuracy in optical communications from space has been difficult. Credit: marian/Getty Images

Meera Srinivasan, operations lead for DSOC at JPL added: "Tuesday morning’s test was the first to fully incorporate the ground assets and flight transceiver, requiring the DSOC and Psyche operations teams to work in tandem.

"It was a formidable challenge, and we have a lot more work to do, but for a short time, we were able to transmit, receive, and decode some data."

It's not the first time optical communications have been sent from the Earth's orbit, however, this is the furthest distance ever successfully achieved by laser.

Historically, the accuracy of optical communications has been harder the further away the object is from the Earth, however, the precision of this latest test is a huge advancement for communication while exploring space.

Featured image credit: rbkomar/Getty Images

 

Earth receives first message from almost 10 million miles away in space

vt-author-image

By Kim Novak

Article saved!Article saved!

Earth has received its first message from almost 10 million miles away in space following a test by NASA.

As technology increases and scientific discoveries evolve, the quest to know more about our universe and beyond continues.

While we have learned a lot about our solar system in recent decades, there's vastly more that we are yet to discover about the vastness of space.

NASA has now successfully received its first laser-beamed message from 10 million miles away back to Earth, which could potentially be a game-changer for spacecraft communication.

wp-image-1263237805 size-full
The latest breakthrough could be a game-changer for space communication. Credit: xia yuan/getty images

According to reports from IFLScience, NASA used lasers to beam data from beyond the moon and back in a rest which took place on November 14.

The test involved the Psyche spacecraft, which was originally sent into space to investigate an asteroid according to NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL).

The spacecraft uses the first demonstration of NASA's optical communications beyond the Earth-Moon system called DSOC, and can beam data using a flight laser transceiver, a ground laser transmitter, and a ground laser receiver.

It achieved its "first light" after Psyche's laser transceiver locked onto a powerful uplink laser beacon transmitted from JPL's Optical Communications Telescope Library, with the uplink beacon helping the transceiver aim its downlink laser to the Hale Telescope at Caltech's Palomar Observatory in San Diego.

The distance achieved is almost 10 million miles away, so 40 times further than the distance of the Moon from Earth.

This latest achievement could be game-changing for communications within space and is a major breakthrough for NASA.

Trudy Kortes, director of Technology Demonstrations at NASA Headquarters in Washington, said in a statement: "Achieving first light is one of many critical DSOC milestones in the coming months, paving the way toward higher-data-rate communications capable of sending scientific information, high-definition imagery, and streaming video in support of humanity’s next giant leap: sending humans to Mars."

wp-image-1263237811 size-full
Historically, attaining such accuracy in optical communications from space has been difficult. Credit: marian/Getty Images

Meera Srinivasan, operations lead for DSOC at JPL added: "Tuesday morning’s test was the first to fully incorporate the ground assets and flight transceiver, requiring the DSOC and Psyche operations teams to work in tandem.

"It was a formidable challenge, and we have a lot more work to do, but for a short time, we were able to transmit, receive, and decode some data."

It's not the first time optical communications have been sent from the Earth's orbit, however, this is the furthest distance ever successfully achieved by laser.

Historically, the accuracy of optical communications has been harder the further away the object is from the Earth, however, the precision of this latest test is a huge advancement for communication while exploring space.

Featured image credit: rbkomar/Getty Images